The 36th Annual Great American Smokeout is November 17th and the American Cancer Society is hoping this will be your first day of a life without cigarettes. Nancy Naeve Brown enlisted the help of the Tobacco Cessation Coach at the Avera Heart Hospital who has some advice on how to quit for good.
Deb Murray wears a lot of hats at the Avera Heart Hospital. She is a Respiratory Therapist, the Tobacco Cessation Coach and she's is a former smoker. So when she helps people kick the habit through the Quit for Good Program she knows what it's like to be in their shoes and what it's like to live healthier after quitting.
Deb says, "Overall our health is the main reasons for wanting to quit tobacco. It's one of the hugest risk factors we have and it's a risk factor we have control of, we can quit it. It affects everything not just our lungs. It is head to toe, the whole cardiovascular system how nicotine, tar, and chemicals in the smoke affects us."
Deb says besides South Dakota's Quitline (1-866-SD-QUITS or 1-866-737-8487), which is a valuable resource, there are some other tools out there to help to you stop smoking.
Deb says, "For alternative options we can go with nicotine replacement projects; gum, patches to slowly decrease nicotine in your system. Another option can be acupuncture. We just had a workshop with Dr. Dawn Flickema (Avera Medical Group McGreevy at 69th) and what acupuncture does is help with withdrawals. Support groups are important. At the Avera Heart Hospital we have the Quit for Good Program that's one on one counseling sessions and we do some testing that makes you more accountable."
Deb does warn to be careful with the electronic cigarettes and not to use them as a crutch.
Deb says, "There are a lot of unknowns about e-cigs. I would hate to have people use it as a replacement because of those unknowns, but if you are trying to quit tobacco and you use it to quit then it could be an option. There are just so many unknowns. We don't know how much nicotine are the e-cigarettes so we have to be careful."
One thing Deb does know for a fact: quitting is hard and almost always takes more than one try to succeed. But when you do and we know you will, you will help create a world with less cancer, less heart disease and more birthdays.
To learn more about the Avera Heart Hospital Quit for Good Program call 605.977.7000 or visit http://www.avera.org/heart-hospital/index.aspx